Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in General, Life Advice | No Comments
Should I Work if My Parents Are Worth Hundreds of Millions of Dollars?

Background information from the person that asked this question:

I’m 25 years old.  I was raised as a member of the middle class.  My
parents do not come from wealth, and we were not at all wealthy (by Silicon
Valley standards) when they were raising me.  My parents ended up starting
a couple of companies around when I went to college, and now their net
worth is in the (low) hundreds of millions.  In the meanwhile, I went off
to college, studied computer science, and got a job as a software engineer
at a very successful tech company. Although my parents funded my education,
that was the extent of their assistance.  That is to say, there was no
nepotism involved with my own moderate success.  My yearly salary is a very
healthy 150k a year, and a lot of my peers think that I’m sitting pretty.
The problem for me is, I know that my time is my most valuable asset.
Although my job is prestigious to some, it involves performing very menial
tasks on things that I really don’t care about.  Yes, if I didn’t have
extremely wealthy parents, I would be plotting my life strategy very
differently.  But the fact is, I do.  My parents worked extremely hard and
managed to achieve a level of success known to very few. It would take me
ten years of work to make a fraction of my parents assets.  I just don’t
see the point in working as a foot soldier in a giant corporation just to
simulate a lifestyle that, until recently, was all my parents and peers
knew.  I feel like I should be taking advantage of this unique situation
and utilizing my finite time in my 20s.

I want to clarify that I don’t want to stop “working” per se.  I just don’t
want to be stuck in the Silicon Valley grind that my parents had to go
through while raising me just for the sake of “paying my dues”.  Life is
short.  I’d love to pursue a career in the arts, or try and start my own
company, or travel for a year.  I’d love to really learn about things
outside of the sustenance lifestyle that we must live if we aren’t wealthy.

I try and broach this subject with my parents, but it is to no avail.  They
have very middle class values, and it seems foreign to them that I would
want to quit such a great job and “waste” all of my time.  They’re scared I
will become a loser, an archetypal trust-fund baby.

I thought another option would be to work at my parents’ company and
transition into a leadership role (via nepotism) but my parents aren’t okay
with that.  Even though they know I’m intelligent, they don’t want to bring
nepotism into the fold at their company.  It’s a high growth tech venture,
and my parents have very egalitarian sensibilities.  I can understand where
they are coming from here.

I think they really want me to go it alone.  That said, they are my
parents, and they love me.  I seriously doubt they would let me starve

This was my response:

You sound smart.  You sound like someone who messaged me on Facebook who I forgot to return the message to, because I was just overwhelmed with a lot of things to do at that time.

What I would recommend you do, as your parents want from you, is for you to be your own man.  To pave your own way.

The best way to pave your own way is to just imagine that your parents were not worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  To imagine that you weren’t to receive a trust in let’s say… Twenty years.  To imagine that you are just another person here in the world, just like the person next to you.

You have a pretty sizable income, which opens up options.  Hopefully you manage your money well and are able to maximize your dollar.  If not, that is what I would first recommend you learn.  Then on to phase two.

I’ve always been a bit of a risk taker, yet as I got older, I guess you can say my involvement with risk has decreased significantly.  After looking at how easy it is to lose everything and how hard it is to create something from scratch, I think I may have figured out the best way to achieve what I want in life.  Who knows, maybe this plan will work for you as well.

In the last decade, I have listened to a lot of Jim Rohn.  He doesn’t ever say to just quit your job and start something new out of nowhere.  Instead, he preaches to work part time on your fortune (your business you want to start or your creative ventures) and full time at your job.  Then when you are making twice as much from your fortune as opposed to your job, quit and work full time on your fortune (or business or creative ventures).

This would seem the best route to suit your needs.  But hey, you’re young.  Maybe you can take a year off and travel before you get that done.  But I doubt you can go back to your parents asking for help if you blow all your cash on your one year adventure.  I know if I was your parents, I’d just tell you to find a new job.  But hey, they may be a bit nicer than I am!

Originally posted on Quora.

Leonard Kim consults startups and writes books like The Etiquette of Social Media: How to Connect and Respond to Others in the World of Social Media

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